United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
1. DAVID G. SMITH, Plaintiff,
1. ORSCHELN FARM AND HOME, L.L.C. d/b/a ORSCHELN FARM AND HOME and 2. JEFFREY BENEDICT, Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
H. Payne, United States District Judge Eastern District of
the Court is Defendant Orscheln Farm & Home, L.L.C.'s
(“Orscheln”) 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss (Dkt. 4).
Plaintiff David G. Smith (“Plaintiff”) has filed
a Response in opposition (Dkt. 9), and Orscheln has filed a
Reply (Dkt. 10). After consideration of the briefs, and for
the reasons stated below, Orscheln's Motion to Dismiss is
to the Petition (Dkt. 2-2) on April 11, 2014, Plaintiff was
driving his truck and was pulled over by Wagoner County
Police in Wagoner County, near Orscheln's store. (Dkt.
2-2, ¶ 4). The officer told Plaintiff he pulled him over
because his license plate was partially obscured.
(Id. ¶ 5). The officer began to question
Plaintiff about some trailer wheels and tires in
Plaintiff's truck. (Id.). The officer then asked
the manager of Orscheln's store, Defendant Jeffrey
Benedict (“Benedict”) to come out to the traffic
stop location and look at the tires. (Id. ¶ 6).
Benedict identified the tires and wheels as belonging to
Orsheln's store “without a doubt.”
(Id. ¶ 7). The officer then placed Plaintiff
under arrest. (Id. ¶ 8).
then gave an official written statement to the Wagoner Police
Department, in which he reiterated his prior statement that
the tires in Plaintiff's truck bed were the store's
tires “without a doubt.” (Id. ¶ 9).
Plaintiff alleges these statements from Benedict caused the
officer to charge Plaintiff with the felony crime of
“Larceny from a retailer” and the District
Attorney to charge and prosecute Plaintiff. (Id.
¶¶ 10, 12).
was released from jail on bond later that day. (Id.
¶ 15; Dkt. 4-2 (Appearance Bond)). The Wagoner County
District Court held a preliminary hearing on August 12, 2015,
at which Benedict testified he had identified the tires in
Plaintiff's truck as belonging to Orscheln's store.
(Dkt. 2-2, ¶ 17). At the conclusion of the preliminary
hearing, Plaintiff's counsel demurred to the evidence,
arguing the prosecution had been unable to prove the tires in
Plaintiff's possession were stolen. (Dkt. 4-5
(Preliminary Hearing Transcript), 57:10-58:3). The court
overruled the demurrer, finding that probable cause existed
to show Plaintiff committed a crime. (Id.
58:23-59:1; Dkt. 4-6 (Preliminary Hearing Bind Over Order in
counsel then filed a Demurrer and Motion to Quash
Information, arguing the prosecution had provided
insufficient evidence to prove Plaintiff committed the
charged offense of concealing stolen property. (Dkt. 4-8
(Demurrer and Motion to Quash Information in No.
CF-2014-178)). Plaintiff's counsel thereafter filed a
Motion to Suppress and Quash Information, seeking suppression
of the evidence seized pursuant to the traffic stop and
statements obtained by the arresting officer. (Dkt. 4-9
(Defendant's Motion to Suppress and Quash Information in
No. CF-2014-178)). The District Court overruled both motions.
(Dkt. 4-10 (Order Overruling Defendant's Motions in No.
CF-2014-178)). However, the District Court then reversed
course and sustained the Demurrer and Motion to Quash
Information, vacating the previous order overruling the
demurrer. (Dkt. 4-11 (Order Sustaining Defendant's
Demurrer and Motion to Quash Information in No.
CF-2014-178)). There is no record to explain why the trial
court reconsidered its previous order overruling
case, Plaintiff brings claims for malicious prosecution and
false arrest against Orscheln and Benedict. Plaintiff alleges
Benedict's “without a doubt” statements
regarding the tires led directly to Plaintiff's arrest
and prosecution, even though Benedict knew or should have
known that his statements were either false or unverifiable.
(Dkt. 2-2, ¶¶ 22-23). Plaintiff contends Benedict
knew, given the circumstances, that his statements about the
tires were important and could lead to Plaintiff's arrest
and prosecution for stealing the tires. (Id. ¶
24). Plaintiff further alleges Orscheln is responsible for
Benedict's statements under a respondeat
superior theory. (Id. ¶¶ 26-27).
removed Plaintiff's case to this Court on July 31,
2017. Orscheln has now moved to dismiss the
Complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant to Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (Dkt. 4). Plaintiff filed a
Response in opposition (Dkt. 9), and Orscheln filed a Reply
(Dkt. 10). The pending motion is fully briefed and ripe for
Standard of Review
considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the Court must accept all
well-pleaded allegations of the complaint as true, and must
construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
See Anderson v. Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith,
Inc., 521 F.3d 1278, 1284 (10th Cir. 2008). The Court is
limited to consideration of specific allegations of the
pleadings, documents attached to the pleadings or
incorporated by reference, and documents “central to
the plaintiff's claim and referred to into the complaint,
” at least “where the document's authenticity
is not in dispute.” Pace v. Swerdlow, 519 F.3d
1067, 1072 (10th Cir. 2008) (quoting Utah Gospel Mission
v. Salt Lake City Corp., 425 F.3d 1249, 1253-54 (10th
Cir. 2005) (quotation marks omitted). In addition, the Court
may consider matters of public record, such as records from
Plaintiff's Wagoner County criminal case (No.
CF-2014-178), by taking judicial notice of such documents,
without converting the motion to dismiss into a motion for
summary judgment. Tal v. Hogan, 453 F.3d 1244, 1264
n.24 (10th Cir. 2006).
argues Plaintiff's claims are barred by the doctrine of
issue preclusion. Issue preclusion bars “relitigation
of factual or legal issues that were decided in a previous
case, regardless of whether that case was based on the same
cause of action.” Willner v. Budig, 848 F.2d
1032, 1034 (10th Cir. 1988). Issue preclusion is properly
applied when (1) the issue to be precluded was actually and
necessarily decided in the prior case and (2) the party
against whom the doctrine is invoked had a full and fair
opportunity in the prior case to litigate the issue to be
precluded. Id. (citing Ten Mile Indus. Park v.
W. Plains Serv. Corp., 810 F.2d 1518, 1523 (10th Cir.
party invoking the doctrine bears the burden to show he is
entitled to the issue-preclusion defense by including with
the motion the judgment record. Salazar v. City of
Oklahoma City, Okla., 976 P.2d 1056, 1061-62 (Okla.
1999); 12 Okl. St. § 32.1. It appears Orscheln has
submitted the entire record from the Wagoner County criminal
case against Plaintiff (Dkts. 4-1 to 4-6, 4-8 to 4-11, 10-1,
10-3), and Plaintiff has raised no objection to submission of
this record. ...